By now, you have heard that Denver Broncos corner Aqib Talib literally snatched the chain off the neck of Oakland Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree.
For this he was not penalized.
For this Crabtree did nothing.
Think about that for a minute…….
My guess is that most will think about one of two things: 1) What the hell is the matter with Talib?; or 2) What the hell is the matter with Crabtree?
Can you imagine anyone doing such a thing to Raider legends Jack Tatum, Lyle Alzado, or even mild-mannered Cliff Branch? It would have NEVER happened. And if it did, Talib would have been dealt with on the spot! No one bullied the old Raiders….they were the bullies as “The Autumn Wind” confirms.
On Talib, in the era of football when it is most difficult to be a good corner, he is a great corner.
That’s the end of the contextual accolades for him.
He is also a first class jackass.
We know he is not the sharpest tool in the shed. You can’t be if you shoot yourself, which he did. But I would like to think his deal is more complex than simply being an idiot.
I don’t know if the root of this is a bad upbringing, mental illness, or any of the other usual suspects. Frankly, after people hit 25 years of age, I don’t especially give a damn about the “why”. We are not talking about a child, but a grown damn man running around daring someone to check his ass. If he goes up against the wrong dude in a night club, he may be obliged and blown away. If this ever happens, some will lament about how “misunderstood” he was when in fact he is on the short list of professional athletes most likely to be mourned the least in the wake of such a tragic ending.
That very foreseeable ending for Talib is the most important reason why Crabtree needed to do something! Bullies are never bilingual. They understand one language and one language only, and that is their own. By doing nothing, Crabtree contributed to the embolden of Talib making the tragic ending I or anyone else can foresee all the more likely.
I am not saying that it was Crabtree’s obligation to save Talib from himself. I am saying that in the larger scheme of things, it would have been better for all parties involved, had he retaliated in the one language Talib understands. Not out of some inflated sense of machismo or superficial notion of manhood, but out of a need to do his part to keep the world around him in balance. When we allow anyone to get away with mistreating us without accountability we allow a dangerous imbalance that will inevitably demand correction. That correction almost always comes in the form of loss….be it loss of face, profession, freedom, or life.
Crabtree’s failure to respond will only encourage the Talibs of the NFL to continue along the same pattern and sends a message to the rest of the league that they can treat Crabtree any way it chooses. Can you imagine what the likes of Pacman Jones will do to Crabtree now?
Whatever the ensuing melee that would have resulted from a justified Crabtree response would have been, we all know it would not have ended in anyone being shot to death.
In the streets or at the club, not so sure.